Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on...

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Title:Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Author:Donnie Eichar
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident Reviews

  • Josh

    We are fragile beings. The camaraderie of a group, their emotions, their smiles only last so long: Through photographs, the eternal message of latter days.

    When a book stays on your mind continuously for several days, you have to then try to reason why. Why am I still thinking about this? Why does it seem to affect me more in the long run than when I initially read it?

    Humans, as a whole, are curious; the search for knowledge is innate and a troublesome curmudgeon, never letting go. When there is

    We are fragile beings. The camaraderie of a group, their emotions, their smiles only last so long: Through photographs, the eternal message of latter days.

    When a book stays on your mind continuously for several days, you have to then try to reason why. Why am I still thinking about this? Why does it seem to affect me more in the long run than when I initially read it?

    Humans, as a whole, are curious; the search for knowledge is innate and a troublesome curmudgeon, never letting go. When there is a situation that we can't understand, can't reason out inside our minds, the mystery haunts us until we can come to a reasonable rationalization...

    This is what Donnie Eichar has done with

    .

    When nine hikers go missing on Holatchahl Mountain in Sverdlovsk, Russia (now known as Yekaterinburg) in 1959 and are found shortly later with an undeniable set of questionable circumstances, the enigma unfolds into conspiracy theories (UFO sighting, military testing, local indigenous murders) to an initial conclusion of

    .

    Eichar takes years of records and interviews, first person accounts, and his own mission to visit the site of the incident to present not only a rational conclusion, but one that could've alluded investigators at the time due to a previous

    that has only now been researched in recent years.

    We may never know the complete truth, but from everything I've read on this subject, this seems the most realistic outcome.

    Recommended.

  • Dem

    An Excellent Read.

    Thank you to Mr Donnie Eichar for finally satisfying my curiosity on the Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. I had come across this story on a couple of occasions but had very little information on it and was so glad to have located this book while searching for a completely different book on the internet

    "

    An Excellent Read.

    Thank you to Mr Donnie Eichar for finally satisfying my curiosity on the Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. I had come across this story on a couple of occasions but had very little information on it and was so glad to have located this book while searching for a completely different book on the internet

    "

    .

    When I started reading this book I just couldn't put it down as the research and information supplied by the author was excellent. I love how he set the scene from page one and engrossed the reader with straight forward details and facts so much so that I felt I was hiking along with these young people and I felt a connection with the story throughout. I love how Donnie explores all the theories put forward throughout the years and how he finally manages to give a credible and excellent explanation for the deaths of the hikers.

    This was one of those books that had me totally engrossed and when I finished it I must admit I spent an hour researching the Internet for photos of the mountain and places named in the book. The book does have photos and a map which I always find so useful. I just couldn't stop thinking about the Incident or the book and for me thats a 5 star read.

    This is an extremely interesting and well written account of the Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident and for anyone interested in reading true life adventures.

  • Carol
  • abby

    In January 1959, ten young but seasoned hikers set off from Yekaterinburg, Russia, where most of them were engineering students at a local college, on a trek through the treacherous Ural mountains. One came home early due to heath

    In January 1959, ten young but seasoned hikers set off from Yekaterinburg, Russia, where most of them were engineering students at a local college, on a trek through the treacherous Ural mountains. One came home early due to heath issues. The remaining nine never returned.

    Whatever happened at Dyaltov Pass (so named after the leader of the doomed hiking group, Igor Dyaltov), it remains an intriguing case for unsolved mystery buffs and conspiracy theorists the world over. Not because 9 people died in the Siberia in February but because of the condition in which they are found. Their tent is discovered abandoned, with all necessary supplies for cold weather survival still stored neatly inside. Something caused the 9 hikers to cut the tent from the inside and flee into the cold night. None were wearing proper shoes, having left their ski boots lined up inside the tent. Some of the bodies are discovered wearing little more than long underwear, their clothing instead found on some of the other hikers' bodies. One of the hikers is found wearing two watches. One woman's body is missing its tongue. The bodies look orange and radiation is detected on their clothing. At least one of the hikers seems to have been trying to climb a tree. That night there was no moon until 3 am and temperatures would have dropped to 40 below.

    So why did they leave the tent when it meant almost certain death?

    Like many others before him, author Donnie Eichar became fascinated with the Dyaltov Pass tragedy and traveled to Russia in an attempt to recreate that fateful hike. In

    he tells not only the story of the hikers but that of his own journey in Siberia. While Eichar does not identify himself as a skeptic, it's fair to say he is one. Thank goodness. If this book had ended with any suggestion that Yeti, aliens or the Soviet government had killed the hikers, I would have burned it (these, sadly, are actual and popular "theories" of what happened). What Eichar proves is that a lot of details about this case that seem nefarious at first glance in fact have easy and obvious explanations.

    Where this book missed the mark a bit was when the author deviated from telling the hikers' story to trying to solve the mystery of why they left the tent that night. His final explanation does not really hold water. That said, his detailed reconstruction of what happened afterwards, in the few minutes and hours between abandoning the tent and the hikers' tragic deaths seems very plausible. Eichar seems to have no background in accident reconstruction, crime scene investigation, or investigation journalism, and I give him a lot of credit for his efforts, even if I think he was perhaps a bit misguided.

    One of the reasons I loved this book is that I'm just such an unsolved mysteries junkie (both the concept and the TV show, which was my absolute favorite growing up). I do wish this book had been

    . More about the hikers, more details about how they were found, more discussion of alternate theories (real ones, not involving aliens). 4.5 stars.

  • leslie hamod

    Incredible story about nine college students who hiked into the Ural mountains and disappeared. The story is true, 1959, over fifty years ago. Many theories were investigated, such as they were blown off the mountain, the prisoners of nearby gulags for them, a meteor! At that time the Soviet Union was testing missiles in that area.

    If course, also, it was the arms race and feelings towards an investigation by an American citizen might not be well accepted. The bodies were eventually found but in

    Incredible story about nine college students who hiked into the Ural mountains and disappeared. The story is true, 1959, over fifty years ago. Many theories were investigated, such as they were blown off the mountain, the prisoners of nearby gulags for them, a meteor! At that time the Soviet Union was testing missiles in that area.

    If course, also, it was the arms race and feelings towards an investigation by an American citizen might not be well accepted. The bodies were eventually found but in various states of undress. Some died of cold, but some did not. Ooh, I want to say what happened so, this book was GREAT!

  • leslie hamod

    Amazing true story of ten college hikers who head to the Ural mountains. When their bodies are found, speculation abounds. All of this occurred in 1959. An American citizen went to investigate fifty years later, obsessed by the case. He meets with resistance, questioning and some assistance. When the bodies are discovered, he also investigates. The results will astound readers of real life adventures. Loved this book! So intriguing, insightful and believe it or not, physics! Astounding read! Wel

    Amazing true story of ten college hikers who head to the Ural mountains. When their bodies are found, speculation abounds. All of this occurred in 1959. An American citizen went to investigate fifty years later, obsessed by the case. He meets with resistance, questioning and some assistance. When the bodies are discovered, he also investigates. The results will astound readers of real life adventures. Loved this book! So intriguing, insightful and believe it or not, physics! Astounding read! Well written and easy to read! An adventure gone horribly wrong. A MUST READ! Great for all, even those not interested in outdoor adventure. A suspense in itself.

  • Trudi

    This is one creepy-ass unsolved mystery, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The true story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident and the inexplicable deaths of nine experienced hikers is one of those strange but true tales that leaves a person shuddering from the heebie-jeebies.

    A group of nine university students -- 7 men, 2 women -- set up their tent for the evening.

    The experienced hikers begin the ritual of settling in for

    This is one creepy-ass unsolved mystery, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The true story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident and the inexplicable deaths of nine experienced hikers is one of those strange but true tales that leaves a person shuddering from the heebie-jeebies.

    A group of nine university students -- 7 men, 2 women -- set up their tent for the evening.

    The experienced hikers begin the ritual of settling in for the night ahead, removing packs and boots and outer layers of clothing.

    The stove in the middle of the large canvas tent remains unlit. Whatever happens next, occurs before the evening meal.

    For reasons unknown to this day, all nine hikers suddenly abandon their tent and go running out into the frigid night improperly clothed and in sock feet. So desperate were they to get away, some of the hikers cut their way out of the back of the tent rather than go out the front.

    When the bodies are later recovered some have died from hypothermia, others are found in a deep ravine with violent injuries such as crushed ribs, fractured skull, and one of the hikers is missing her tongue.

    What force or event could have possibly compelled nine seasoned hikers to all lose their shit at the same time and act in such an erratic and life-threatening manner? To leave the sanctuary of their tent and flee into the frozen night barely dressed to certain death?

    It has been established that it was no avalanche. So what else does that leave?

    Over the years, theories have abounded, from the plausible and sane to the completely nutty. Donnie Eichar goes on a quest halfway around the world to retrace the steps of the Dyatlov group searching for the truth of what happened that night. In his quest he meets some colorful Russian characters, including a tenth member of the Dyatlov group who turned back at the last minute, a decision that saved his life.

    This book is really three narratives woven together -- 1) the Dyatlov Incident pieced together from photos and journals the doomed hikers painstakingly kept along the way 2) the search and rescue which followed and 3) Eichar's trips to Russia and his own trek to Dead Mountain.

    As I followed in the hikers' footsteps, reading their journal entries, seeing their smiling faces in the photographs, I couldn't help become emotional for the horror I knew was waiting for them. It's a story that's as sad as it is unsettling.

    After three years of research and exhaustive interviews, Eichar is able to put forth an interesting theory about what exactly happened that night, one that certainly has more substance than UFO's or the Abominable Snowman. Yet, it's still only a theory. The maddening, pull your hair out aspect of this story is that we will probably never know what happened that night. It is a secret that the young hikers took to their untimely and tragic graves.

  • Matt

    How’s this for a mystery?

    In February 1959, nine Russian hikers ventured into the Ural Mountains and never returned. When searchers went looking for them, they discovered a distressing scene. The hikers’ tent had been cut open. Despite ample supplies, the hikers’ bodies were found outside the tent only partially dressed. Six of the hikers had succumbed to hypothermia, but others showed signs of head trauma. One of the corpses had a missing tongue. Of course, since this was the Soviet Union – lan

    How’s this for a mystery?

    In February 1959, nine Russian hikers ventured into the Ural Mountains and never returned. When searchers went looking for them, they discovered a distressing scene. The hikers’ tent had been cut open. Despite ample supplies, the hikers’ bodies were found outside the tent only partially dressed. Six of the hikers had succumbed to hypothermia, but others showed signs of head trauma. One of the corpses had a missing tongue. Of course, since this was the Soviet Union – land of nuclear mishaps – some of the hikers’ clothing showed signs of radiation.

    It presents as quite a puzzle. Like something you might hear on Coast to Coast A.M., when you’re driving cross country late at night, and all the rest of the world is asleep.

    Unsurprisingly, there have been many different theories as to the fate of young Igor Dyatlov and his eight companions. They range from the mundane (avalanche) to the insane (aliens). In between people have posited that the hikers were attacked by wild animals; that they were murdered because they saw some sort of secret weapon being tested; or that the radiation on their bodies somehow ties into a vast web of interlocking plots that coalesced on the slopes of the Holatchahl Mountain and required the slaughter of the seven men and two women, all of whom were students at the Ural Polytechnic Institute, and who belonged to a hiking club seeking their Grade III certification.

    is documentarian-turned-investigator-turned-author Donnie Eichar’s attempt to solve a riddle that has fascinated people for years.

    Eichar tells his story in alternating chapters that toggle between the Dyatlov group’s final excursion into the Urals, and Eichar’s own search for answers. Both the present and latter day sections demonstrate Eichar’s commitment to his project. He twice traveled to Russia; he retraced the footsteps of the hikers; he got hold of the complete police files and had them translated; he spoke with local experts; and he even scored an interview with Yuri Yudin, the tenth member of the Dyatlov group who had to turn back before his friends marched off into snow and death and the queer immortality that springs from certain tragedies.

    No one survived those final terrible moments on the Holatchahl. Yet the hikers left behind just enough evidence for amateur sleuths to pore over, analyze, and extrapolate from. Since Dyatlov’s group was going for their Grade III hiking certification, the hikers kept a diary that was inscribed daily by various members. There was also their camera, found intact, with a number of pictures of happy young people unaware of their own looming deaths, of the sand running silently through the glass of their lives. It’s hard to look at the pictures now with any kind of objectivity. They are old, in black and white, and tinged with foreboding, so that even a relatively normal frame of skiers skiing in a line takes on a haunted aspect. (It should be noted that

    is generously illustrated with photos that are interspersed throughout the book).

    Eichar’s book promises to reveal the “untold story” of the so-called Dyatlov Pass Incident, and he fulfills that promise by carefully presenting his own version of what happened.

    I will pause here to state an abiding principle of mine: that true-life events are not spoilers. This is something I believe in strongly. People do not live their lives, they do not strive and struggle and sometimes die, in order to fulfill the entertainment needs of voracious, on-demand media consumers. To append spoiler tags to the dramas of actual human beings strikes me almost as immoral, dehumanizing.

    Now, with that said (and after that extra-special glimpse into my thought processes), I will break my own rule and avoid any more discussion of Eichar’s conclusions. Since this book is carefully structured to build to the reveal, it’s unfair to give any indication of where its heading. Suffice to say, UFOs are not involved. Yet Eichar’s hypothesis is just weird enough to be a perfect fit for this strange tale. Best of all, Eichar provides a final chapter in which he speculates, in narrative form, about exactly what he thinks caused the hikers’ deaths. It is really a rather brilliant intertwining of forensic evidence and educated guesswork, and makes for a powerful denouement.

    There is something that draws us to unexplained death. Just recently, I came across a long-form article written about Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers, two young Dutch girls who went missing in the Panamanian jungle. Ten weeks after they slipped out of our reach, bone fragments and a backpack were discovered. The backpack, in eerie echoes of doomed Dyatlov, held a camera. It contained time-stamped images of a hike that started with smiles and sunlight. By the end, eight days after the girls were swallowed by the jungle, the camera's subject has changed dramatically. Now there are photos taken in complete darkness, photos that are trying desperately, unsuccessfully, to tell us something very important.

    We have this collective idea that the world has gotten very small. That we are always connected and never alone. That we have solved every last enigma, answered every last question. But that’s not true at all. Especially when it comes to death, what Shakespeare called the “undiscovered country.” We can go to Mars and to the bottom of the deepest sea, but we cannot look a second past the moment of death. I wonder if in the compulsion to seek answers to the deaths of others, we aren’t actually looking to answer those questions about ourselves.

  • Renee Godding

    In February of 1959, a group of young but experienced hikers embarked on a track through the Ural mountains in Russia, never to return. Over the months that follow, their bodies are located one by one, painting a confusing and horrifying picture of the events that affected the group. A frenzied escape from the safety of their camp wearing little more than underwear, curious evidence like clothes emitting radiation and injuries that seem to defy explanation… All of this has made

    In February of 1959, a group of young but experienced hikers embarked on a track through the Ural mountains in Russia, never to return. Over the months that follow, their bodies are located one by one, painting a confusing and horrifying picture of the events that affected the group. A frenzied escape from the safety of their camp wearing little more than underwear, curious evidence like clothes emitting radiation and injuries that seem to defy explanation… All of this has made this case the subject of much speculation over the years. Theories range from accidents to foul play, from Soviet soldiers to Russian Yeti’s, and from secret weapons testing to extraterrestrials.

    In

    , investigative journalist Donnie Eichar sets out to explore all theories and find the truth among the speculation.

    Investigative true crime can be a tricky genre; these are real events, with real people, who often still have real (living) relatives. To me, treating the case and people at hand with the due respect is always one of the first things I look for in books like this. I’m happy to say that Donnie Eichar handles this very well.

    Quite literally the books opens with introducing us in depth to the people in the group. I

    did appreciate this. The hikers become real people to the reader, not just faceless puppets in a sensational mystery. Although some of this information may be a little too much for some readers (this really depends on taste), I enjoyed this part and I think it shows how dedicated Eichar is as an investigator. He has talked to the people involved, and thoroughly did his research.

    This also applies to his investigation of the theories, and the final conclusion he comes to. Eichar addresses many of the popular theories with an open mind and argues why he feels one is more or less likely than the other. Afterwards he presents his own (well researched!) theory, which in my opinion is the most plausible yet.

    This is not a definitive plea for his case: in the end the reader is left to draw their own conclusions, which can feel a little unsatisfying. Then again: what other way can you feel about a case that will probably never be definitively solved.

    My biggest criticism of the book was the pacing. As mentioned: the start goes very in depth on all the hikers backstories, and although interesting, is quite slow. There were moment here where I found myself a little bored, especially around the (first) description of the group embarking on their trip.

    This was in stark contrast to the final chapters on the theories. Some of those were quite short and fast. I would have liked a little more depth here, possibly at the expense of some of the earlier parts.

    It’s 2018 as I’m writing this review, and in all honesty: all theories described in this novel can be found with a quick google search. It really is the story of the people and the in depth explanation where this book shines. If you are mildly curious and just want a quick glance of this case, this book may be to in depth and you might be satisfied just by reading some articles online. If you know a little about it and (like me) were fascinated by what you learned, this book might be for you.

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